I hadn't listened to this band in quite a while when I received this album from Nick at Prog Sphere, and it seems that they have evolved considerably since I last spun one of their discs.
The classic Hawkwind and Gong influences are still there, but they have developed their own brand of psych rock now. A brand that is infused with indie attitude, sounding as The Verve might have done if they had continued on the psych trip from their debut album A Storm In Heaven instead of combining the psych with a rich vein of indie pop. There is a confident swagger on such tracks as Child Of The Harvest which has some nice sax work as it charges along. The reverbed vocals remind me of early Richard Ashcroft crossed with Shaun Ryder, which maybe is not that surprising when you consider that those two and the band come from the same area of the UK. There's a touch of keening Ozzy too, especially on Night Of The Scarecrow, which you can listen to below as you read on...
The band hail from Fleetwood in Lancashire, UK, an area that is more often damp and misty than not, the fuzzy nature of the atmosphere being reflected in this reverb-heavy production. So thick is the reverververbbbbbb laid on that it is rarely possible to decipher what singer songwriter/guitarist Fred Laird is enunciating, and after a while one wishes for a bit more clarity. As Stations Of The Ghost is a ostensibly a concept album based around the pagan occult withchery stories of the band's Lancashire homeland, it would have been helpful to have deciphered more of the lyrics. Still, the production certainly manages to create a mystical atmosphere, that's for sure, weaving a darkly menacing tapestry.
The music goes some distance towards creating a ghostly land of sorcery, referencing classic 70s space rock, Krautrock, folk rock, as well as elements of stoner rock, all filtered through a sonic gauze. Fans of Øresund Space Collective, Ozrics, and their ilk should love it.
A snip at only £6.50 including UK P&P from the band's website where you can also download two tracks from this opus to try before you buy.
1. Stations Of The Ghost (2:22)
2. Dark Horizons (7:32)
3. The Last Hurrah (9:20)
4. Child Of The Harvest (14:26)
5. The Halloween Tree (3:39)
6. Night Of The Scarecrow (13:30)
7. Lola Daydream (6:45)
Fred Laird / guitars, vocals, keys
Jon Blacow / drums, percussion
Luis Gutarra / bass
Joe Orban / keyboards (2,4)
Ellie Willard / backing vocals (2,4)
Ian Wright / saxophone (4)